Bath traders declare ‘independence.’

The gathering outside Bath Guildhall

Bath and North East Somerset’s (B&NES) six independent councillors have formed an alliance with Bath’s independent businesses, shops and restaurants to try to  re-shape local government.

Together – they say – ‘Independents for Bath’ want to take the party politics out of local politics and promote the independent character of the city of Bath.

The gathering outside Bath Guildhall
The gathering of independent councillors and traders outside Bath Guildhall. Click on image to enlarge.

They staged a launch ‘get-together’ outside Bath’s Guildhall at noon today – Monday, December 1st.

‘People are fed up with party politics,’ says Independent Group leader Cllr Dave Lamming.

‘Party politics has no place in local affairs—it’s too short-term and all about political game playing. Bath’s independent councillors are all local business people and we have deep roots in the local community. We want more councillors like that and are delighted to form a working alliance with Bath’s independent business leaders.’

‘We are inspired in part by the success of the Independents for Frome movement,’ says Tim Newark of the petition-raising Independent Shops of Bath and the TaxPayers’ Alliance. ‘They returned 10 independent town councillors out of 17 in 2011 and have worked closely to promote local independent shops there to great effect.’

Cllr Bryan Chalker Independent, Lambridge Ward
Cllr Bryan Chalker
Independent, Lambridge Ward

‘The beauty of Bath is its independent shops and businesses,’ says Independent Group deputy leader Cllr Bryan Chalker. ‘We want to see a council that helps not hinders our local entrepreneurs. The disgraceful way the council has treated toll road hero Mike Watts is just one example of how this current administration gets it so wrong.’

‘We’ve got lots of ideas,’ says Alex Schlesinger of Bath’s Small Business Focus, ‘including a two-tier rent and business rates regime aimed at encouraging more independent shops and restaurants in Bath. We also want to see the council deliver on its promise to reverse recent parking fee increases in the centre of the city.’

‘Next year’s local election is going to see a lot of big changes in the political scene in B&NES,’ says independent Cllr Nathan Hartley. ‘The two leading parties are losing votes and independent councillors and their allies will have a bigger say in the council chamber. I want to see more local people stepping forward to stand as independent councillors. Get in touch with us!’

B&NES’ six independent councillors are:
Cllr Dave Lamming, Lambridge, Independent Group Leader
Cllr Bryan Chalker, Lambridge, Independent Deputy Leader
Cllr Malcolm Lees, Weston
Cllr Douglas Deacon, Timsbury
Cllr Nathan Hartley, Peasdown
Cllr June Player, Westmoreland

Mike Watts, Guildhall Market trader
Mike Watts, Guildhall Market trader

For today’s gathering – Monday, December 1st – they will be joined by Tim Newark and
Jo Davies of Independent Shops of Bath, Alex Schlesinger and Anji Henderson of Bath’s Small Business Focus, Angela MacAusland of Bath’s Federation of Small Businesses, Martin Tracy of Walcot Street traders, and Mike Watts, local Toll Road hero and Guildhall market trader, plus many other shopkeepers.